An Early Look at Shaw’s Tavern—With Menus (Pictures)

A former Food & Wine Best New Chef is serving simple dishes that are elevated by solid cooking techniques.

Chef John Cochran holds up a sustainably caught salmon from California; grilled soft-shell crab on summer chowder with sweet-potato chips, a dish that Food & Wine magazine featured. Photographs by Erik Uecke

Slideshow: Shaw's Tavern: Simple Food and a Casual Vibe  

Like the DC neighborhood it lives in, Shaw's Tavern, which opened last Friday, is named for the Civil War colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Roomy couches and bare wood tables give off a casual vibe, but there's nothing laid-back about what's coming out of the kitchen.

"Serious-casual is how I see it," says chef John Cochran of his seasonally driven menu.

Cochran—who has owned a house in Shaw for 20 years—has cooked in Michelin-starred kitchens in England, at Brooklyn's Marlow & Sons, and the Inn at Little Washington. In 1997, he was named a Food & Wine magazine Best New Chef while cooking at the late Rupperts in DC.

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Fine-dining influences show up on the pub-style menu, as do nods to Cochran's vegan daughter: rockfish with sorrel-roasted beets shares space with a burger (made from in-house-ground meat), and traditionally buttery or cheesy dishes—mashed potatoes, for example—get their richness from a hit of Ligurian olive oil and fresh herbs instead of dairy. Former Zola pastry chef Carri-Anne Hamer is behind such sweets as chocolate-caramel cupcakes and house-made ice cream.

A liquor license is coming soon, and a 70-seat patio should be ready by September.

Says Cochran of his vision for the 86-seat restaurant: "People just want to eat good food, and that's what I'm trying to do here."

Shaw's Tavern. 520 Florida Ave., NW; 202-518-4092; Open daily 4 to 11 PM.

Cold Melon Buttermilk Soup with Watermelon Salad $6
Chilled Grilled Salmon with Cucumber, Tomato Summer Salad $9
Bibb and Bacon Salad with Medium Boiled Egg and Shallot Dressing $8
Ratatouille and Corncakes $7
Tapenade of Peaches, Fennel, Green Olives, Capers and Green Lentils on Frisee $7
Grilled Soft Shell Crab on Summer Chowder with Sweet Potato Chips $12
Tomato Mozzarella (red) $11
Three Cheese and Onion (white) $11
Spinach Potato Olive Oil Pie (green) $11
Add Ons: Pepperoni, Fresh Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Greens, Anchovies, Olives, Ratatouille, Egg $2 each
Flat Iron Steak with Yorkshire Pudding, Carrots, Toscano Kale and Horseradish $16
Pork Chop, Okra, Pickled Cabbage with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans $18
Roasted Chicken with Basil Mash Potatoes and Red Russian Kale and Blackberries $16
Rockfish with Black Rice, Collard Greens and Sorrel Roasted Beets $18
Cheeseburger with Yukon Gold and Red Bliss Fries, Homemade Pickles and Rhubarb Ketchup $15
Scallop, Leek, Carrot, Tomato Mint and Barley Stew $19
Basil Mashed Potato $5
Roasted Collard Greens $5
Toscano Kale and Carrots $5
Okra and Sweet Potatoes $5
Tomato Barley Stew $5
Yukon Gold and Red Bliss Fries $5

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.